House of Commons Hansard #180 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not the ones introducing a flawed bill; it is the Conservatives. I am wondering what they are trying to hide when it comes to this bill.

Six young people left Quebec last month to go to Syria. The authorities believe that they joined jihadist groups. Everyone here shares in the pain of the parents and of the father who did everything he could to stop the children from going. Canadian communities and families now feel as though they have been left to fend for themselves.

President Obama has a real plan to fight radicalization in the United States. Why are the Conservatives doing nothing to help parents who are concerned about the radicalization of their children?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, our government has had a strategy against terrorism for years. The first pillar of that strategy is prevention. We meet with the cultural communities; our police officers are reaching out to them.

Why are the New Democrats opposed to our strategy? Why are they preventing our government from putting tools in place to protect Canadians?

I urge them to get out of the way and let the committee hear from witnesses and move forward on this.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that Bill C-51 does not contain anything that would give hope to the parents whose children are being radicalized. The Conservatives are more interested in scoring political points than they are in preventing radicalization.

A serious examination of Bill C-51 is absolutely necessary. We offered to sit evenings and weekends if necessary.

Why is the minister afraid of having his bill thoroughly reviewed? What does he have to hide?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, why do the New Democrats want to stop our intelligence officers from shutting down websites that post hate propaganda, preventing high-risk travellers from boarding a plane, meeting with parents to prevent their child from falling prey to radicalization and preventing imminent attacks? Why are they opposed to information sharing within the federal government?

I urge the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to examine this important bill that protects Canadians against terrorism so that we can pass it.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. There is still far too much noise during questions and answers. I would ask members to come to order. It is increasingly difficult for the Chair to hear.

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the Conservative-generated backlog at the Social Security Tribunal, Canadians are now waiting months for their disability benefits as they struggle with serious illnesses. The Auditor General himself is concerned about the situation and will hold the Conservatives accountable.

Will the government finally understand that it is responsible for this monumental disaster and that it is time to put an end to these interminable delays?

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we acknowledge that the waiting list is unacceptable.

That is why my predecessor ordered his departmental officials, his experts, to look at every case in appeal right now, in order to resolve them before they even make it to the tribunal. That will enable us to settle them much more quickly.

Our goal is to eliminate the long-term wait list before the end of the summer. I spoke to my departmental officials last week. They told me that they were on track to accomplish this goal.

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Social Security Tribunal has been a disaster since the very start. The Conservatives failed to properly plan for the transition. They stuck the tribunal with patronage appointments. They watched as the backlog grew and wait times stretched to more than seven years. They denied faster hearings to people who were dying and financially broke. The Auditor General has now said that he is investigating the program

Does the minister understand that offering a few people settlements does not make up for years of epic mismanagement?

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the plan is not to offer a few people a settlement. Rather, my predecessor came up with a common sense action plan to have specialists within the department look at every case that was currently under appeal and find those for which we could find a speedy resolution without even having to put them before the tribunal at all. This is a fast and common sense way to reduce the waiting list.

Our goal is to have the long-term waiting list eliminated by the end of the summer. I talked to my officials last week, and they indicated to me that we are on track to do that.

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the minister still does not seem to realize is that Canadians are suffering because of his government's mismanagement.

For example, Peter McClure has been denied benefits even though he is dying of lung and rectal cancer. He was told his condition was not quite “severe and prolonged”. Then the tribunal refused to hear his appeal quickly, even though he has less than a year to live. Now he is spending his final days without income.

Where is the Conservative government's compassion for Canadians like Peter McClure?

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, these are very difficult cases. We are talking about the Canada pension plan disability program.

The fact is that we have a plan in place now to address the backlog by using specialists within the department in order to resolve as many of the outstanding appeals as humanly possible. That will reduce the number of cases that have to go before the tribunal. In so reducing the cases, we believe we can eliminate the backlog by the end of the summer.

As I said earlier, my officials indicate that we are on track to achieve that goal.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Conservative boasts about going after tax cheats have gone from ridiculous to outright dangerous. Estimates just released by the government show more Conservative cuts to Canada Revenue, an additional $56 million in cuts, and this is after having fired 3,000 staff at the agency.

Here is the first rule in fighting international money laundering: one cannot catch the tax cheats and money launderers if one does not have the investigators.

Now the agency will have to review another 10 million files. How can the minister justify these new cuts to the very people we need to go after tax cheats and international money launderers?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly in the House, this government has zero tolerance for tax evasion. Our record on this is excellent. We have combatted tax evasion. We have been tough on tax cheats, including helping our international partners obtain information. Since forming government, we have introduced over 85 measures to improve the integrity of our tax system.

As to auditors, we have actually increased auditors in this area.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada will give the Canada Revenue Agency 10 million declarations of transfers of $10,000 or more. The problem is that the agency has 3,000 employees less than it did in 2012 to process 10 million more declarations. Boy, white collar criminals sure can sleep well at night with the Conservatives in power.

How can the Minister of National Revenue claim that combatting tax evasion is a priority when she has even less staff to process the piles of new information her department is receiving?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, again, this government has zero tolerance for tax evasion. We have been very clear about that. We even have a special department dedicated to dealing with international tax evasion. Voluntary disclosures of international tax assets have been growing exponentially because of our measures. We have brought in an OTIP line that is fielding hundreds of calls. We have taken many measures, and the New Democrats and Liberals have voted against every single one of them.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Legal Strategy Coalition on Violence Against Indigenous Women released a comprehensive review of 58 relevant reports and found that only a handful of the over 700 recommendations have been implemented. The coalition said that only a national inquiry will have the scope, resources, and accountability to ensure the implementation of an effective and coordinated action plan to end the violence.

On the eve of tomorrow's round table, will the government finally get on the right side of history, listen to the premiers, aboriginal leaders, experts, and families, and call a national public inquiry?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, having met with many of these families, what I can say is what they want is action, and they want it now. They do not want to wait for another study or actually even read another study. What they would like is to be supported and protected and to have preventative programs put in place. That is what this government has done, whether it has been safety programs or matrimonial property rights for women, which the opposition members voted against, taking away an essential right for women. We are here to support them, and we will continue to do that.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, getting U.S. approval for the Keystone pipeline is very important for our economy. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has bungled this critical file. He thought he could bully President Obama but got vetoed.

Brian Mulroney could have gotten it approved with Ronald Reagan. Jean Chrétien could have gotten it done with Bill Clinton. Why has the current Prime Minister failed to do his job and protect Canadian interests?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, that is a zinger. This is not a debate between Canada and the United States. It is a debate between the President and the American people, the majority of whom are supportive of this project. Keystone XL will create jobs and strengthen energy security for North America. The State Department was clear: this project can be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner. It is not a question of if; this project is a question of when. We will continue to be a strong advocate for this job-creating project and other pipeline projects and to boast about our approach to responsible resource development.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

February 26th, 2015 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's failure to move the yardstick on Keystone is a direct result of his refusal to adopt stronger, credible environmental policies. Canada is suffering, because the current government is a global climate change pariah.

Will the Conservatives now admit that we need to build public trust to grow our exports? Will they work with the premiers to put a price on carbon?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I was going to help the translators with that, but I did not have to by the end of the question. That is code for the Liberals introducing a national carbon tax, which would increase the price of everything.

Keystone XL will create jobs and strengthen energy security for North America. The State Department was clear: this project can be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner. We will continue to support this project and our approach to responsible resources development.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about pandemics and communicable diseases, but instead of investing to improve public health, the Conservatives have cut billions in funding. The estimates have now revealed that the Public Health Agency of Canada's budget is being cut by 7.7%. This includes a $53.5-million cut to health promotion and disease prevention and the sunsetting of a major program for hepatitis-C survivors.

How can the minister justify these cuts to such vital public health services?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member is just wrong. In fact, in terms of the Public Health Agency of Canada, our spending on health security has actually nearly doubled since 2010. Of course, this year we will see quite a bit of an increase coming through the Public Health Agency of Canada because of our numerous investments in Ebola preparedness, whether it is the unprecedented vaccine and treatment clinical trials we are funding all over the world, or supporting provinces in their community preparedness for Ebola, both in training and the equipment they needed, or the public awareness campaign we launched on Ebola to help fight stigma for health care workers.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, approximately 240,000 people in Canada are living with hepatitis C. Treatments for this disease are not available everywhere, and accessibility varies from region to region. A program to improve treatments became a victim of the Conservatives' cuts.

Now, more than ever, we need money to promote health and fight disease, so how could the Minister of Health think it was a good idea to cut $50 million from the Public Health Agency of Canada's budget?